Jim Steinman, who wrote hit songs for Meat Loaf and Celine Dion, dies at 73: NPR
Larry Busacca / Getty Images for Songwriters Hall of Fame
Jim Steinman, co-creator of orchestral-style power ballads and rock by artists such as Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler, has passed away. Steinman was a composer, lyricist and record producer whose work with Meat Loaf on the 1977 album Bat out of hell catapulted the avid motorcycle singer to stardom. The Connecticut State Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Steinman’s death to NPR. He was 73 years old. Steinman’s brother told The Associated Press he died of kidney failure.
Steinman fully embraced the epic opera-style rock of the 1970s and once said, “If you don’t go too far, you can’t see what’s on the other side.” A biography on his website calls him “the lord of excess” and notes that the Los Angeles Times once called him “the Richard Wagner of rock”. In addition to Bat out of hell and other projects with Meat Loaf, Steinman’s credits include “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, “Making Love Out of Nothing At All” by Air Supply and “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” by Celine Dion.
Steinman wrote his first musical while a student at Amherst. His professional career began at the Public Theater in New York. It was there that he met Meat Loaf when the singer auditioned for a role in the composer’s first musical, More than you deserve.
The Steinman / Meat Loaf partnership was explosive, musically and commercially. Bat out of hell, once described as “like Springsteen on Broadway on steroids,” has gone on to become one of the best-selling albums of all time. In addition to producing, Steinman wrote a number of songs on the album, including the classic “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”.
But success was not a sure thing. Initially, the record companies weren’t interested. According to The telegraph, Steinman once said, “If there was a market for some explosive 10 minute Wagnerian hymns sung by a 350 pound guy with a huge voice, then we had this cornered market.”
Steinman songs have been used in films such as Free of any tie and Shrek 2. He collaborated with Andrew Lloyd Webber on the musical stage version of Whistle the wind. In 2017, his “dream project”, Bat Out of Hell: The Musical, opened at the Manchester Opera House and then made its US debut at the New York City Center.
Some of Steinman’s many fans include Lost producer Javier “Javi” Grillo-Marxuach, who captures well the epic nature of the songwriter’s vision: “Every song is a three-act piece. Every emotion is a great opera. Mic mercy: a song by jim steinman is still his own magnificent beast. rest in peace to the supreme maximalist. “